MUMBAI: It is time for the court to now announce the verdict in the famous hit-and-run case accusing Bollywood super icon Salman Khan killing one because of rash driving in 2002. Judge D W Deshpande will decide upon the fate of Salman Khan accused in the Hit-and-Run case.
Salman Khan is among the prominent names of the industry who have never been able to evade controversies from their life. Some storms in his life have also dragged the Bigg Boss host into legal hassles.
Some of the prominent cases where Salman Khan has been trapped include the 2002 hit and run case, relationship with Aishwarya Rai, black buck hunting case and derogatory remarks about 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Recently, the ‘Dabangg’ star who recorded his statement before the court and claimed that he was not driving the car on that historic night has received some support from his driver Ashok Singh. Backing his boss’s claims, Singh had claimed that he was on the driving seat of the SUV that rammed into five, killing one, before the court.
Ashok Singh while recording his statement said that he was driving the car at the time of the accident and the real cause of the accident was tyre burst. However, Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat on Tuesday said that Salman was on driving the Toyoto Land Crusider and not his driver Singh as subsequently claimed.
Gharat also termed Singh as a dummy witness who had lied under oath, in the written submissions of the final arguments which the prosecution finished last week before Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande.
Last month, defence counsel Shrikant Shivade began his side of the final arguments which will and continued it for some days.
Salman Khan, has been challenged as drunk while driving and crashing his SUV in the early hours of September 28, 2002, into the American Express Bakery in Bandra west that killed one pavement dweller and injured four others by the prosecution.
Gharat further explained that the witnesses have confirmed before the court that they had seen the actor getting off the driver’s seat and nobody had seen Singh on the wheels.
Rejecting the story from the defence of Ashok Singh’s presence at the time of the accident, Gharat pointed out there were only three people inside the vehicle, which includes Salman Khan, his friend Kamaal Khan and police bodyguard, the late Ravindra Patil. “Ashok Singh is a liar. I pray that action may be taken against him for perjury. He is a stooge and dummy witness,” Gharat said in the 30-page written arguments submitted to the court.
The court is now set to give the judgment in the 13-year-old case on May 6. Judge D W Deshpande will decide upon the fate of Salman Khan accused in the Hit-and-Run case.
Let’s get into the flashback of the accident that is the talk of the nation even after 13 years.
The much talked 2002 hit and run case which is still being fought in the court has now involved people from different walks of life. The case is not only a ‘high-profile’ matter because of a Bollywood superstar’s involvement in it but also because the incident has now become a platform for the opportunists.
What invited Salman into trouble?
The night of September 28, 2002 turned out to be a disastrous night for Khan as his Land Cruiser supposedly ran over five people sleeping on the footpath outside American Express bakery on Hill Road in Bandra which killed one person and injured four more people. Even though the witnesses have confirmed of the actor driving his car that night, Salman Khan denied all such charges.
As per the media reports of 2002, the actor had fled the accident spot after the tragedy which actually labeled the scene as ‘hit and run case’. But eight hours later to the accident, actor Salman Khan had surrendered to the police. His father, a renowned script writer in Bollywood, Salim Khan fervently denied that his son escaped the scene and has repeatedly expressed annoyance known over his son’s ‘accident case’ being termed as ‘hit and-run case.’
As per the medical reports taken 13 years ago during the time of the accident, actor Salman Khan was under the control of alcohol. Chemical analysis report filed in 2007 had showed that Salman had 62 mg alcohol in his blood on the night of accident, another charge, denied by the ‘Kick’ actor.
The episode and charges against the actor got more serious as the Sessions court had ruled that the offense of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ under Indian Penal Code holds against Salman Khan in a 2002 hit-and-run case and rejected his appeal challenging a Magistrate’s order invoking this charge.
While speaking the order in an open court, Sessions Judge UB Hejib ruled that the accused Khan would face the charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ and will also face trial for the same.
Against the charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 part II of Indian penal Code), Ashok Mundargi, the advisor for Salman Khan pleaded that the order by Magistrate was ‘erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record.’
Mundargi further explained that the Magistrate had failed to acknowledge and appreciate that the actor did not have any intention to kill people or any knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others.
But on the other hand, Shankar Erande, Public Prosecutor while opposing the appeal from Salman expressed that the Magistrate had aptly invoked the charge of culpable homicide as he had committed a serious offence.
Also, Salman Khan had appealed the court to restrict media, which once again disappointed the actor as the court rejected his appeal and asked the media to cover only after the hearing.
The Outcome or Penalty
As per the law, if Salman Khan is convicted under the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he might have to face up to 10 years of imprisonment.
The star earlier had less serious charges of causing death by negligence (section 304A of Indian penal Code) and if he was to be found guilty under those charges, the maximum punishment of two years would have followed the conviction.
A lawyer and social activist Abha Singh filed a private complaint against the actor before the Bandra Metropolitan court attacking the loop holes in the investigation by police and accusing that the police investigators were trying to shield the famous actor.
Singh also alleged that due to the inattention of the police, the case has been pending for 13 years in the court. The activist stood against the report that pointed out that the police officials had failed to serve summons to the actor in the 2002 hit and run case since November 2012, claiming he was not in town.
The Bodyguard’s Role
As per the previous media reports, Salman Khan’s then bodyguard Ravindra Patil tried his level best to save his mentor by surrendering himself in front of the police and taking the blame on himself. But after 64 witnesses testified before the court, it was clear and proven that the Land Cruiser was driven by the superstar himself. Patil was the prosecution witness who later turned antagonistic and disowned his own statement and died under mysterious circumstances in 2007.
During the hearing at the Bombay High Court on October 7, 2002, the court had instructed Salman Khan to pay Rs.19 lakh as compensation to the victims within the span of two weeks. This also comprised of Rs.10 lakh compensation to the family of the dead.
Much to the expectations, to submerge the case as soon as possible, the Khan family had got the compensation amount deposited with the court but according to reports they were not able to receive it at the time due to lack of proper identification.
Love for the Car!
The reports for the actor demanding his Land Cruiser back from the government officials had also marked a huge controversy and hype in the case. But apparently, the trial court had refused to return the ‘star car’.
Salman Khan had spent three days in prison in 1998 for hunting black bucks in Rajasthan during the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. The black buck is a rare species and hunting it is an offense under the Wild Life Protection Act.
Further on, the actor was again trapped under the legal issues as his ex-flame Aishwarya Rai filed a complained against him of threatening her and using fowl language. The actress even shared a recording which was later tagged as ‘fake’.